Babemba Traoré

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Babemba Traoré was a king of the Kénédougou Empire. Following the 1893 death of his brother Tieba Traoré, Babemba assumed the Kénédougou throne. The capital, Sikasso, was beset at this time by both the Dyula forces of Samory Touré and by the rapidly advancing French colonial army. The neighboring Toucouleur Empire's capital at Ségou had fallen to the French the previous year, leaving the French free to focus on subduing the Kénédougou.

In April 1898, the French began a major artillery barrage against Sikasso's walls; the city itself fell on May 1, 1898. Rather than surrender to the French, Babemba ordered his guards to kill him, an action still celebrated in Mali today. Samory Touré was captured in September of the same year, marking the effective end of West African resistance to French rule.

The stadium of Sikasso, Stade Babemba Traoré, today bears his name.